Catania / Taormina
Guy de Maupassant in "Towards the Golden Skies”, 1885, worte: "Should you only have one day to spend in Sicily and you ask me 'what is there to see?' I would reply 'Taormina' without any hesitation. It is only a landscape but one in which you can find everything that seems to have been created to seduce the eyes, the mind and the imagination."
Taormina rised as a tourist town, because Siculians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens chose it to sojourn there for a long period and not for political reasons only. The Normans, particularly, consecrated it like tourist residential center and it became, since then, center for congresses and conferences, visits and stays.
Filippo Calandruccio in Beehive writes that the travellers went and came in number always increasing and a lot of them represented artistically their emotional reactions. In 1770 Patrick Brydone arrived at Taormina and in 1787 J.W. Goethe, accompanied from the draftsman Kniep. But it was only about the end of the nineteenth century that Taormina reached the apex of the notoriety as place of international stay. Nobles and well-off english men started to acquire more and more villas. Soon there came also the North Americans, Austro-Hungarians, Baltic people, Belgians, Swiss, Dutch, Germans. The most prestigious characters of the whole Europe visited Taormina. Among so many artists and lettered, in addition to the quoted Goethe, we can remember Truman Capote, El Salvador Dalì, Edmondo De Amicis, Alexander Dumas, Gabriel Faure, Anatole France, Andrè Gide, Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt, D.H. Lawrence, Guy de Maupassant, Vladimir Nabokov, Luigi Pirandello, Bertrand Russel, Leonardo Sciascia, John Steinbeck, Vittorini Helium, Oscar Wilde.
The young prussian painter Otto Goelen arrived at Taormina for a brief visit, but he stayed there up to the death. Among musicians and conductors we remember Johannes Brahms, Leonard Bernstein, Nikita Magaloff, Richard Wagner. Among the men from cinema, theater and performance, who innumerable visited Taormina, we remember Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Francis Ford Coppola, Edward De Phillip, Marlene Deitrich, Eleonora Duse, Fred Fellini, Greta Politeness, Cary Grant, Marcello Mastroianni, Gregory Peck, Tyrone Power. Among the men of State, magnates of finance and ruling families, Willy Brandt, Lord Carrington, Alcide de Gasperi ,the kaiser William II, king Gustavus, Juan king of Bourbon, Huro Kekkonen, Mitterand, king Olaf, Grand Duke Paul from Russia, Sandro Pertini, Philippe from Orleans, Rothschild, Nelson Rockfeller, Humbert of Savoy.
If we wanted to anchor the tourist modern history of Taormina to an initial date, we could settle down the date of 1870, year in which the Siracusa-Catania-Messina railroad was completed. Another important event is the inauguration in 1874 of the Hotel Timèo. In 1904 the most important hotels in Taormina, as it results in a publication printed in New York: San Domenico, Timèo, Metropole, Castello a Mare, Naumachie, Vittoria.
In more than one hundred years the tourism in Taormina have had ups and downs. But the town is still the dream of the tourists from all the world who love the beauties of nature and art.
Pietro Rizzo writes in his Tauromenium book: From the Tauro Mount, from the Theater, from the Vergin Mary of the Fortress Church and from the Castle, the sight flows freely from the mountains to the sea and to the coast horizon of the south toward Catania, through the slopes to the smoking crater of the immense and imposing Etna. Northward we could admire the lines of the coast, always beautiful and picturesque, which runs toward Messina. From those different places perspectives open out before our eyes and marvelous landscapes of light and color, fluffy distances and verdant hills, foreshortenings and rural profiles and steep and leaning cliffs, green balconies crowned of white cottages and sea beaches on which the shades of the beach houses are inverted reflected in the water under a clear and dazzling brightness. .
Filippo Calandruccio writes in Beehive: as reading The Thousand and One Nights one feels himself like Bulukiya, the joung sultan who goes around the roads of the world to meet Mohammed and to placate his anxiety of search which will be placated by an island seldom enchantment, very similar to the heaven of the Islam. Now this Taormina, glad island, is reality and is fable.
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